There are few tennis clubs around the country that can boast the state-of-the-art floodlighting in the configuration that we wish to install as part of our courts conversion project.
Fewer still, and probably only one, that also enjoy the same EdelGrass Advantage artificial grass surface, that we have opted for as our preferred surface. That one is the Polo Farm Tennis Club, in Canterbury, Kent, a prestige club similar in size to ours.
So that is where David Kilworth and Richard Sibbett went to check out the claims made by the manufacturer for the proposed flood lights but also, as an added bonus, the lights-courts surface combination. The omens, we are happy to say, are all positive.
David has been injured for some weeks and risked his dodgy Achilles tendon to hit rallies with Richard on one of the club’s six courts which are now four years old and fully bedded in.
They concluded that the lights were “bright, very white” and much brighter than our existing ones on courts 9-13. There were no issues with shadows at the net line.
Richard said that there were no issues with ‘being blinded’ or failing to spot an oncoming ball because of dark spots concluding: “Overall David and I could only identify positives for these lights – the court was bright; the spill seemed to fade very quickly”.
David was in no doubt that the lengthy, round trip to Kent was an absolute necessity as part of the due diligence we have to undertake.
They were made to feel welcome at the club and spoke to members about their experiences. The club’s members all spoke warmly of the lighting and surface and, not least, their readiness to sweep up after play.
All the courts looked in excellent condition after four years in use which gave our investigators some confidence that we have chosen wisely.
“We felt that we had to go to Canterbury”, said David. “It meant we could see exactly what we can expect from our lighting installation when completed. It also offered an opportunity to see the courts that we plan to install.
“We liked them and we thought that the lights were absolutely great. We found really good lighting on the courts and the spillage appeared low, obviously important for our neighbours.
“After four years wear and tear, the courts played just as well as those at the Hoole club, which were only a few months old when we tried them earlier this year.”
Richard says he threw up a few lobs into the lights for David to field. Not all were returned successfully but David did not lose any balls in the dark sky like he would on our courts. On the bright side volleying high speed returns appeared much easier than on our courts.
We are now heading towards decision time in the courts conversion project. So we were very pleased to hear the positive outcome of this important visit.